6. Temporary imports
You can usually use a vehicle with foreign number plates without registering or taxing it in the UK if all of the following apply:
- you’re visiting and don’t plan to live here
- the vehicle is registered and taxed in its home country
- you only use the vehicle for up to 6 months in total - this can be a single visit, or several shorter visits over 12 months
If you become a resident or stay for longer than 6 months you must register and tax your vehicle in the UK – follow the steps for importing a vehicle.
If you bring a vehicle from within the EU
You won’t usually have to pay VAT or duty if you bring your own vehicle from within the EU.
Call the imports and exports helpline if you have questions about bringing a vehicle from the EU for less than 6 months.
If you bring a vehicle from outside the EU
You don’t pay VAT or duty on a vehicle if you temporarily import it from outside the EU and all of the following apply:
- it’s for your own private use
- you’re not an EU resident
- you don’t sell, lend or hire it within the EU
- you re-export it from the EU within 6 months - or longer if you’re eligible to use foreign number plates for longer
Claim relief by filling in form C110 and taking your vehicle through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel when you arrive in the UK.
Using foreign number plates for longer than 6 months
You might be able to use a vehicle with foreign number plates for longer than 6 months if all of the following apply:
- you normally live outside the EU
- you’re in the UK for a set period as a student or worker
- you claim relief from VAT and duty
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will give you a customs relief form when you claim relief – show it to police if you’re stopped when driving the vehicle.
If you stay after your customs relief expires you must register and tax your vehicle in the UK – follow the steps for importing a vehicle.
If you don’t qualify for relief
If HMRC says your vehicle must be registered and taxed in the UK, contact the Customs, International Trade and Excise (CITEX) team.
If you’re stopped by the police
You must show police that you can use the vehicle in the UK without taxing and registering it here, eg proof:
- of the time you’ve been in the UK (eg a ferry ticket)
- that your vehicle’s eligible for relief from VAT and duty (eg a customs relief form)
When you need Q number plates
You must get temporary Q number plates from DVLA if you visit the UK for up to 6 months and either:
- your number plates display numbers or letters that aren’t identifiable in the UK, eg Arabic script
- your vehicle isn’t registered in its home country
Contact DVLA if you have to get temporary Q number plates.
Before you get Q number plates - vehicles from outside the EU
You must claim relief from VAT and duty before you can get temporary Q number plates for a vehicle from outside the EU.
If you claim relief:
- at the border - get form C110 stamped on arrival in the UK
- after you arrive - fill in form C110 and send it to the CITEX team to have it stamped
CITEX written enquiry team
Local compliance S0000